HEADQUARTERS PILLOWS BRIGADE,
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my regiment in the late attack on La Fayette, Ga.:
Having arrived at a point one mile and a quarter west of the town, my regiment was dismounted, with the exception of Companies A and B, under Major [R. H.] Redwood, Ninth [Eighth] Alabama. who acted under the immediate orders of Col. C[harles]. G. Armistead, commanding brigade, from whom I received orders to assume command of all the dismounted men of the brigade, and move at the double-quick into town, and form with my left resting on the Chattanooga road. My command reached town in an exhausted condition, but soon recovered and formed line. I found it impossible to form line as directed, but formed and moved up a hill upon some houses occupied by the enemy. After a short but severe conflict I succeeded in driving the enemy. I here met Colonel [Charles G.] Armistead and reported to him my inability to form line as directed. I then moved forward to the Chattanooga road. At this point I halted and changed front on the right of my line, which being executed (the regiments occupying the following positions, viz, a portion of [T. H.] Lewis battalion on right, Ninth [Eighth] Alabama in center, and [Charles G.] Armistead's regiment on left), I moved forward to the court-house and gave the order to charge. This was nobly and gallantly done. The enemy opened a destructive fire from the court-house, jail, and other buildings, which caused the line to fall back to cover, but was soon rallied.
In this charge the Ninth [Eighth] Alabama lost 2 gallant officers Capt. C. E. England, Company E, and First Lieut. S. S. Johnson, commanding Company F; the former wounded, the latter killed within twenty steps of the court-house. Lieutenant-Colonel [Lemuel D.] Hatch was wounded while gallantly leading his regiment. He, however, remained upon the field. At this time [James J.] Neely's brigade (dismounted) came up and occupied the houses from which the enemy had been partially driven by [Charles G.] Armistead's and [Charles P.] Ball's regiments. Colonel [Charles G.] Armistead having been wounded in the charge on the court-house, the command of the brigade here devolved upon me. I immediately ordered the line forward and assisted in occupying the houses and sharpshooting the enemy.
At this time I received orders to be ready to support [James J.] Neely's brigade in a charge on the court-house. Lieutenant-Colonel [Lemuel D.] Hatch, Ninth [Eighth] Alabama, reported to me that he was not able to command the regiment on account of his wound. This left my regiment in a precarious situation, having already lost severely in officers. I formed my own regiment, and at the signal moved forward. The fire of the enemy was very severe and most of the regiment was driven back. Some few succeeded in reaching the court-house. Having reached the court-house I examined the door and attempted to force it open, but found it too strongly barred and barricaded with corn-sacks piled against it. With the small force I had I saw the absurdity of remaining, and after reconnoitering the position ordered my men to follow me, and escaped by the rear of the court-house and rejoined the command. I found [James J.] Neely's brigade withdrawing, and, having received no orders, went and asked Colonel [James J.] Neely what I should do. He replied by directing me to withdraw immediately. I withdrew my own regiment and [T. H.] Lewis battalion and sent orders to Lieutenant-Colonel [Philip B.] Spence to do the same by Second Lieutenant [James R.] Garber, Company G, Ninth [Eighth] Alabama Regiment. This order Lieutenant-Colonel [Philip B.] Spence informed me afterward he failed to receive.
Having withdrawn, I ordered the Ninth [Eighth] Alabama and [T. H.] Lewis battalion to mount their horses, which had been moved. This caused considerable confusion, from which the Ninth [Eighth] Alabama and [T. H.] Lewis battalion soon recovered. Lieutenant-Colonel [Philip B.] Spence withdrew his regiment in good order, although he was pushed severely by the enemy in rear and flank. Too much credit cannot be given Colonel Spence for the admirable manner he withdrew. [Charles G.] Armistead's regiment, having reached their horses, mounted and assisted in protecting the rear. The enemy soon gave up the pursuit.
Where all acted so gallantly it is hard to discriminate, but I cannot close without calling attention to Captain [James] Harrison, Company H, Ninth [Eighth] Alabama, who was wounded and left in the hands of the enemy (where the fight was the thickest there he was); Lieutenant [W. T.] McLemore, Company D, Ninth [Eighth] Alabama, for conspicuous gallantry and good service; First Sergeant White, Company C, and Private Green, Company G, for their coolness and courage, being the only ones who followed to the court-house. I would also mention Sergt. W. H. Strong, Company I, [Charles G.] Armistead's regiment, who, having been separated from his regiment, attached himself and command to the Ninth [Eighth] Alabama and fought gallantly until returned to his regiment.
I regret having to mention the death of Maj. R. H. Redwood, Ninth [Eighth] Alabama.
My officers and men acted with great gallantry and coolness, with some exceptions. Among the latter I am compelled to mention Capt. E. C. Rhodes and Second Lieutenant [James R.] Garber, Company G, and First Lieutenant [W. T.] Miree, Company H, Ninth [Eighth] Alabama. Inclosed I forward list of killed, wounded, and missing.*
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CHAS. P. BALL,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
Maj. J. C. BURCH,
* Not found
SOURCE: Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 38, Part 3, Pages 1000-1001.
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